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Marchers protest at Long Melford homes plan

PUBLISHED: 09:57 22 January 2019

The people from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

The people from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

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Campaigners protesting against plans for 150 new homes in Long Melford took to the streets to march against the proposals.

People from Long Melford gather at the village hall after taking part  in the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTEPeople from Long Melford gather at the village hall after taking part in the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

People of all ages took part in the Save Our Skylark Fields (SOS) through Long Melford on Sunday as part of increasing opposition to an application by developers Gladman to build a new housing estate on land off Station Road.

The controversial development has faced opposition with residents citing infrastruc-ture issues and lack of need.

Babergh District Council’s planning committee voted to refuse the plans at a hearing in December.

However Gladman lodged an appeal prior to that hearing on the grounds that Babergh had gone over the stated timeframe for the application.

The people from Long Melford who took part in the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTEThe people from Long Melford who took part in the Save Our Skylark Fields march. Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

This means the final decision will lie with the planning inspector, with a date now set for June 25.

The protest march against the development started from the SOS banner on the corner of Roman Way at 10am before heading to the village hall for updates and speeches.

Despite the cold weather crowds flocked to the meeting point as the march set off, which culminated in speeches and a question and answer session.

Lisa Tipper, the chairman of the SOS group, said: “It was a great occasion and we do feel that we have the majority of the village behind us.

“We are not anti-housing as our neighbourhood plan has identified sites for development but we feel that this site is not just for 150 homes as it could open up to 1,000 homes.

“We are doing this for the future of Long Melford and it certainly generated a lot of local support.”

She said Ian Mackenzie, former chairman of Hands Off Steeple Bumpstead, a village group which successfully defeated Gladman’s application for 65 new homes in 2017, gave a “brilliant” speech and reassured villagers that they can win their fight over the development.

Campaigners also collected funds amounting to over £620 which has pushed the total amount to nearly £10,000 to pay for costs associated with fighting the developer.

Other events have been planned including a quiz night at the Royal British Legion on February 8, while the village cricket club has make its headquarters available which could be the venue for a barbeque or cheese and wine evening later in the year.

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